What To Expect and How To Prepare for Your Mammogram

mammogram-516258564Your doctor may have recommended scheduling a mammogram as part of your annual exam or to further examine symptoms you may be experiencing that are relative to cancer. Whatever the reason may be for testing, mammograms can be extremely stressful for many women.

Although the anxiety leading up to the day of your mammogram may be overwhelming it is important not to put off testing.  A mammogram is very effective in the early detection of breast cancer and saves lives.

Knowing what to expect can alleviate some of the anxiety and stress that may occur before and during the process.  Here are few tips to help guide you through the process and make your experience more comfortable:

  1. Preparing for your mammogram. Scheduling your mammogram a week after menstruation is often recommended by physicians because your breasts will be less tender and swollen. It is also recommended that you do not wear deodorants, antiperspirants, lotions, powders or ointments on your chest area because they may show up as abnormalities in your X-rays. Come prepared to remove all garments and jewelry on your upper body. If you have any concerns or symptoms you would like to discuss do not hesitate to do so before the examination. Most importantly, make certain that the facility is accredited by the American College of Radiology and specializes in breast imaging.
  2. The duration of your mammogram. A mammogram typically takes 20 -30 minutes to complete. Times may vary if you have larger breasts, denser breasts or implants. During this time a mammogram technologist will position your breasts on the X-ray machine and compress them each for a few seconds. You may experience some discomfort or pain. Technologists are trained to ensure your privacy and to do their best to make you as comfortable as possible. If the degree of pain is too much, please inform the technologist.
  3. After the test. After images are taken of your breast, their quality will be checked by a technician. If they are not up to standard the technologist will have to re-issue the mammogram. Otherwise, your radiologist will review and interpret the images. The radiologist will look for evidence of cancerous or benign tissues and send a report to your doctor.

If suspicious findings or abnormalities are found in your mammogram, the radiologist or your doctor may recommend another mammogram or breast ultrasound to further investigate their findings.

Jamaica Hospital’s Radiology Department offers a wide variety of state-of-the-art diagnostic and specialty services performed by over 16 board-certified and subspecialty trained radiologists, along with several highly trained and experienced technologists.

With several upgrades and improvements to the department, our patients can now undergo their testing in a new and more comfortable environment. Services offered by the Radiology Department include ultrasound, mammography and MRI.

For more information about the radiology services offered by the hospital or to schedule an appointment, please call the Department of Radiology at 718-206-6039.